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Royal Commission Interim Report Summary – Part One

Written by Ilsa Bird, Sector Support Coordinator

“The neglect that we have found in this Royal Commission, to date, is far from the best that can be done. Rather, it is a sad and shocking system that diminishes Australia as a nation.”

– Commissioners Richard Tracey AM, RFD, QC and Lynelle Briggs AO

The Royal Commission Interim Report was released on October 31, 2019 and outlines the themes and findings from hearings, consultation and evidence submissions between February to September 2019. The Report is titled ‘Neglect’ and “sets out the extent of the failure of Australia’s aged care services and what the Royal Commission has learned to date”.

What’s in the Report?

The Interim report includes three volumes:

Volume 1: contains key information about aged care and conclusions the Commissioners have reached over the course of hearings during 2019. Key themes addressed in Volume 1 include:

  • the nature of the current system
  • previous reviews and inquiries
  • changing demographics, social and economic challenges
  • systematic failures
  • navigation and entry into the aged care system
  • wait lists in aged care
  • challenges facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and those in rural and remote areas
  • Physical and chemical restrictive practices
  • Aged care workforce matters
  • Younger people in aged care

Download here: interim-report-volume-1

Volume 2: contains detailed overviews of the public hearings from February up to and including hearings in Darwin and Cairns in July 2019, including the Royal Commission’s findings in case studies conducted at those hearings.

Download here: interim-report-volume-2

Volume 3: contains several appendices, including summaries of the nine community forums the Royal Commission has held throughout Australia since February.

Download here: interim-report-volume-3

What are the key findings?

The overarching theme of the Interim report is that the current aged care system requires significant redesign and reform. The Commissioners have concluded that we currently have an aged care system that:

  • is designed around transactions, not relationships or care
  • minimises the voices of people receiving care and their loved ones
  • is hard to navigate and does not provide information people need to make informed choices about their care
  • relies on a regulatory model that does not provide transparency or an incentive to improve, and
  • has a workforce that is under pressure and under-appreciated and that lacks key skills

Areas of immediate Action

Although there are several emerging theme, the Interim Report has identified three areas of immediate action. These include:

  1. to provide more Home Care Packages to reduce the waiting list for higher level care at home
  2. to respond to the significant over-reliance on chemical restraint in aged care, including through the seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement
  3. to stop the flow of younger people with a disability going into aged care, and speed up the process of getting out those young people who are already in aged care


Part two of this series will be released at the beginning of next month and will address the impacts of the Royal Commission on staff, consumers and organisations. To assist providers with future planing, we will be breaking down the themes of the Royal Commission to date, presenting potential scenarios and recommendations for providers. To ensure you receive a copy of this important article, sign up to receive the e-Bulletin.